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Artist believes, 'it's not what you see, but what you feel'

Covington resident Gina Rutledge ends her artist statement with a quote from Edward Degas: "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see."

For Rutledge, that approach to art is one of the primary pleasures she takes in creating her paintings, which she's sold at local festivals such at the Olde Town Artist Market.

"I really like to see what my paintings make a person feel. It's not so much what you see but what you feel. You may have 10 different people look at a painting and they all have a different views about it. Some may reflect back to a place they've been or it may make them happy or it may be a moody painting that touches emotion in them," she said.

A self-taught artist, Rutledge works mostly in oils and prefers to paint landscapes and still lifes, though recently she's branched out into portraits. She is a nature lover who delves into ocean, sunset or mountain scenes with equal relish. She also enjoys rendering floral arrangements or animals in their natural settings, such a deer in the woods or a wolf among snowy hills.

Rutledge uses a combination of photos and her imagination to create the subjects in her paintings.

"I can be more free with a landscape or a still life," said Rutledge.

A 43-year-old Conyers native and 1982 Heritage High School graduate, Rutledge has devoted time to her art since childhood, though she took about a seven-year hiatus when her son Dustin, now 19, was born. For the past five years, she's spent virtually every Monday night for three hours painting with a group of artists at Dickerson Fine Arts in Snellville. Both Rutledge's husband, Jon, and her son encourage and support her efforts.

Rutledge, who's worked at Acuity Brands Lighting, formerly Lithonia Lighting, in Conyers for 21 years, said she'd like to one day see her art move from less of a hobby in her life to more of a profession.

"It's very freeing and I do kind of go into my own world and, unless I'm painting a commission, I paint what I like to paint for myself," said Rutledge.

Rutledge's paintings sell for between $100 and $500. For more information, contact her at ginarutledge@bellsouth.net.

Contact Karen Rohr at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.